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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  May 24, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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parenting. that and more at 6:00. >> caption colorado, llc comments@captioncolorado.com >> smith: tonight, two days after the tornado the search goes on for victims and relatives of the missing cling to hope. >> so when she comes back-- when she comes back... it's going to be all right. >> smith: i'm harry smith in joplin, missouri. also tonight, inside the monster. there was something different about this tornado. what made it so powerful and ultimately so deadly? and picking up the pieces. they escaped with their lives but lost everything else. >> i feel totally miserable, absolutely devastated and totally at a loss for starters. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" tonight harry smith reports
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from joplin, missouri. >> smith: good evening, again, from joplin, missouri. even as rescue crews here continue to search for victims, there is a threat tonight of even more dangerous weather. take a look. those areas in red east and west of joplin have the greatest risk of tornadoes through tomorrow. that includes oklahoma where cbs affiliate kwtv captured these pictures of a tornado forming this afternoon. this is news 9 meteorologist nick bender reporting from a helicopter. >> i would almost say with this rotation guys a tornado is going to be imminent here. there's the funnel. i believe we've got debris on the ground, guys. we've got a tornado on the ground. >> yeah, that's a tornado on the ground. >> look at that rotation on the ground. that's amazing. >> the funnel is really starting to grow. you've got vortex there on the ground.
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you have vortexes there spinning around on the ground. it's got to be. whoa! we just had a big c.g. right out the window real close to us. there's a high likelihood of a large tornado, multivortex tornado could be back there on the ground as we're going to try and circle around. we have intense, intense cloud- to-ground lightning strikes. >> i can clearly see the edge of it right here. it looks like a big tornado. it will move into heavily populated areas here shortly. it's definatley going to be a threat to life and property here. >> i'm seeing it better, gary. it's definatley going to be a this is a dangerous situation. it's hard to see these things until they're right on you. it's incredible how big. it's a humongous wedge. >> this thing is dangerous. it will kill you. if you can, get below ground. you can see the debris cloud there. it's a stove pipe now. getting bigger. coming up by 44, so if you know someone traveling i-44 south get them off. >> smith: we can confirm that several tornadoes did touch down this afternoon in oklahoma.
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there's reports of injuries, some damage and we have a confirmation of at least two dead in the tornadoes in oklahoma this afternoon. the death toll and the cost toll continues to rise here in joplin. at least 122 now confirmed dead. a number that continues to rise all day. the number of injured between 750 and 1100. the cost in dollars and cents they're saying at least a billion, maybe 2 or 3 when all is said and done but the search for survivors continues here in joplin. and don teague has that part of the story. don, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, harry. there was at least some good news here on the weather front today. the predicted bad weather so far hasn't come to joplin. that has allowed some 500 searchers to go out and go through buildings that they just couldn't get through yesterday. it's been a long and grueling day for captain daus, a member of strike team three, a specially trained and equipped team of firefighters from st. louis. >> there has been other disaster
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incidents where people have been found days later in void areas. so we're hopeful of that. but the reality is there are recovery efforts as well. >> reporter: the search team is prepared for anything but shocked by this. >> you think that you're prepared to see it and you're not. there's nothing that can prepare you to being here and smelling it and seeing it. >> reporter: we followed team members as they scoured this demolished apartment complex searching for survivors in what were once multistory buildings. how dangerous is this for the members of your team? >> it can be very dangerous. we have structural integrity problems here. we have walls that are bowed out. >> reporter: as the firefighters searched by hand, across town... >> we just have to figure out where he's at. >> reporter: ...members of a volunteer canine team searched for 74-year-old larry allen, thought to be trapped in this house. >> i'm sure he's here. i just don't know how to get through these voids. >> reporter: missy epperson is
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leading the team of 13 volunteer rescuers and dogs from illinois. she also searched for victims at the world trade center and hurricane katrina. how does this compare to some of the other places you've been at? when you show up and you see this? >> this is katrina without the water. >> reporter: even for experienced searchers, the amount of destruction here is hard to comprehend. the strike team from st. louis found no survivors in this apartment complex. but at the missing man's house... >> thank you, jesus! >> reporter: tears of joy after larry allen, who it turns out wasn't trapped in the house, came home wondering what all the fuss was about. >> it's overwhelming to think that that many people cared about trying to find me. if i'd have been stuck in there i'd have been found by now. >> we would have got you out. >> reporter: well those are just a couple of the stories from the ongoing searches of some 2,000 ruined buildings here. now they're hoping the predicted severe weather here doesn't cause even more damage to this town because there is much more work to do.
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harry? >> smith: don teague across town from us in joplin, tonight, thank you very much. this waiting to find missing loved ones is just excruciating on families and cynthia bowers has more on that story. >> reporter: harry, perhaps of all the anguish being felt in this death and destruction the most is being experienced by families who cannot find their loved ones. they're hoping against hope that they're still alive, but they're also desperate just to know. there could be a baby boy trapped beneath all this rubble. >> the last thing he was wearing was a blue shirt with orange lettering. >> reporter: his uncle, frank reynolds, says 16 month old skyular logsdon was a preemie, small for his age, a good boy who held a special spot in his family's heart. are you confident he might still be alive? >> i'm praying he's alive everyday. >> reporter: his mom, dad, and grandma were hanging on the skyular and each other in the hall of the house that used to stand here.
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after the tornado struck, rescuers were able to locate everyone and get them to hospitals-- everyone except the little boy. >> he was our angel. he had such a sweet smile. >> reporter: his great grandma watches this morning's search unsure of what to wish for. >> i'm hoping they'll find him. but then i hope they don't because it's just not bearable, you know? but we need closure. we need some kind of closure. >> reporter: there are families like this one all over town, still searching for loved ones. >> joining us in studio now... >> reporter: ashlie romine took her search for her best friend to the airwaves today, carrying flyers to the local radio station kzrg, hoping and praying someone listening has seen young mother tami muldenhauer- campbell. >> she's 25 years old. she's got three little boys that love her very much and want her very badly. they need their momma. this is the biggest thing, they need their momma. >> they're looking for charles williams.
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>> reporter: local radio stations like this one and the internet have become a virtual human lost-and-found. skyular's family created a web page to help their search. prayers and good wishes pour in from kansas to south carolina to new hampshire. skyular's parents and grandmother remain in the hospital. while they're expected to recover physically from their injuries, they will never recover emotionally until they find their only child. it's hard to give up. >> oh, we're not going to give up until we find him. >> reporter: everybody's focus is on the child? >> yes. everybody else is in the hospital and doing pretty good so we've got to find this baby. >> reporter: the number of the missing still varies wildly. law enforcement is trying to come up with a master list. harry, in a disaster this size, any firm number is just still hard to come by. >> smith: cynthia bowers, thank you so much. we've been talking about how big this storm was that hit joplin on sunday night and, quite frankly, it's hard to talk about it without talking about its share scope and cruelty.
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joplin, missouri, took a beating from a tornado the likes of which has not been seen anywhere in america in more than a half century. several thousand homes and businesses destroyed or nearly so. a fact that is difficult to comprehend even when you're here. it's hard to get a scope of the devastation so we're going to try something here. arnie is our cameraman. arnie, go ahead and do a 360 turn and just look around at this. now, this isn't just one isolated neighborhood in joplin. there's neighborhood after neighborhood after neighborhood that looks exactly like this. in other words, you pull down a street, you stop and everywhere you look is devastation. then again, maybe the best way to see it is from the air. a path of destruction miles long and half a mile wide. it looks down below like a war was raged here sunday night.
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somehow, this storm basically came through and carpet bombed an entire section of this city. it looks like the tornado literally strafed through there with all of its firepower and ruined everything in sight. and as in war there are the wounded, like scott. >> we grabbed our son and threw him in the bathtub, she got on top of him, i grabbed a mattress and got on top of them. then we did the "i love you" business and then you feel the house start to shake. >> reporter: scott is bruised and hurt, alive and grateful. how lucky are you to be alive? >> i consider myself real lucky. i mean, to be able to stand up and see my family was pretty amazing. >> smith: but 11 people in this nursing home were not so lucky, they did not survive. and at least seven perished in this home depot. joplin is a city that has suffered unspeakable trauma, the
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kind even emergency room surgeon dr. walter dandrich could not put into words. >> it was... it was just packed. sorry. >> reporter: sabrina rushed to find a scene of both life and death. >> we did lose our grandma. they were hiding out in the closet and she saved my aunt and my nephew by pretty much telling them where to go. we had to pull her out. >> reporter: and there are those who are simply trying to find out if their loved one is still alive. mickey helms has been searching for his sister for two days. >> we moved all of her furniture over to the side where it wouldn't get all wet and so when she comes back-- when she comes back... her stuff will be all right. >> smith: the heartland knows
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heart break tonight but even as joplin mourns, there is determination. the battle is not over. >> it's the show-me state. we don't... we don't spend a lot of time complaining. we don't spend a lot of time whining. you're not going to see our folks yelling and screaming. what they're going to do is put their shoulder to the wheel and get to rebuilding. >> smith: president obama is in london tonight. he will be here on sunday and he made joplin a promise. >> the american people are by your side. we're going to stay there until every home is repaired, until every neighborhood is rebuilt, until every business is back on its feet. that's my commitment. that's the american people's commitment. >> smith: and the head of fema vowed today that the agency will be in joplin for the long haul. now, we want to show you that picture of the tornado taken earlier today over oklahoma. why it's important: it's a multivortex tornado, exactly the
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same kind that hit here in joplin. seth doane, now, on why they're so dangerous. >> reporter: in this video of the twister touching down near joplin, notice what appears to be long thread-like clouds. it's the hallmark of what's called a multivortex tornado. >> it looks like sinuous little funnels or fingers dancing around the ground. don't be fooled, though, it doesn't look visually large, the type of winds that are going on there are extremely violent. >> reporter: nick bender, sky news 9 h.d. meteorologist whom you heard from earlier in the broadcast spoke with us from their storm-chasing helicopter earlier today. >> when we say "multivortex" we're talking about several smaller tornadoes that are inside a parent tornado. >> reporter: that's what can make these tornadoes particularly dangerous. it starts when you have warm air on the surface that rises to meet cooler air in the atmosphere. in a multivortex tornado, this instability can create smaller sub-twisters that are inside the
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larger tornado which can have wind speeds of up to 300 miles per hour. the larger tornado can stretch from half a mile to a mile wide. >> reporter: literally, the atmosphere wants to turn upside down. that cold air wants to come down to the surface. that warm air wants to rise above and typically it does so in a violent fashion. >> reporter: picture these sub- twisters as a figure skater. when the skater's arms are outstretched she's spinning. but when she brings her arms in closer she spins even faster. and where the whirling wind is most concentrated, the damage can be most devastating. >> with multivortex tornadoes, typically the story that you hear is how can a tornado take one house and leave another? that is the calling card of a multivortex tornado. >> reporter: a twist of fate amid so much devastation. seth doane, cbs news, new york. >> smith: and the national weather service confirms tonight that the storm that hit here in
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joplin just two nights ago was, in fact, an ef-5 category tornado with winds in excess of 200 miles per hour. lots more news tonight. russ mitchell is in new york and has the rest of the headlines. >> mitchell: good evening, harry, see you in just a bit. up next on the "cbs evening news," congress gives israel's prime minister dozens of standing ovations but the palestinians are not buying his peace plan. e exelon patch daily for the treatment of mild to moderate alzheimer's symptoms. [ female announcer ] it cannot change the course of the disease. hospitalization and rarely death have been reported in patients who wore more than one patch at a time. the most common side effects of exelon patch are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. the likelihood and severity of these side effects may increase as the dose increases. patients may experience loss of appetite or weight. patients who weigh less than 110 pounds
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house, israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu got a warm welcome today from the house and senate. netanyahu said he's willing to make painful compromises in the name of peace. nancy cordes report he is got a standing ovation, but the palestinians were not impressed. >> you got bin laden, good riddance! >> reporter: congress greeted israel's prime minister with 29 standing ovations as he vowed he was prepared to negotiate a lasting peace. >> we'll be generous about the size of the future palestinian state. >> reporter: but then he laid out his terms-- and it was a long list. a palestinian state, he said, must have no army of its own and palestinian leaders must sever ties with hamas. >> israel will not negotiate with a palestinian government backed by the palestinian version of al qaeda. >> reporter: he said he would give up some settlements but refused to compromise on the biggest prize-- jerusalem. >> jerusalem must never again be divided.
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>> reporter: an aide to palestinian leader mahmoud abbas called that a declaration of war against the palestinian people. when president obama tried to push netanyahu to go further last week, the israeli leader pushed back, publicly. >> the palestinians will have to accept some basic realities. >> reporter: congressional leaders made it clear today whose side they're on. >> today we stand shoulder to should with israel and once again renew our historic partnership. >> reporter: congress, of course, does not have to broker a peace agreement while the white house must try to get both sides to give. russ? >> mitchell: nancy cordes on capitol hill, thank you very much. still ahead, billions in stimulus money went to companies that did not pay their taxes. taxes. i'm chef michael, and my dog bailey and i love to hang out in the kitchen.
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>> mitchell: president obama is on a wreak-long trip to europe where he faces some tough foreign policy questions. but in britain today it was all about pomp and pageantry topped off by a state dinner hosted by the queen. earlier the obamas met the newlyweds prince william and his wife kate. the president also went to a school with prime minister david cameron, though they lost a ping-pong match to two students. the president's travel plans were disrupted yesterday by ash spewing from a volcano in iceland. today 500 flights were grounded, most of them in scotland. the concern is the volcanic debris could damage their engines. two airports in germany will be closed tomorrow as the cloud moves east. here at home, a report out today raises new questions about whether the government did all of its home work when it handed out those stimulus checks back in 2009. it turns out, thousands of
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companies that received $24 billion in stimulus money owed three quarters of billion dollars in back taxes. tax delinquents accounted for nearly 5% of the companies that were examined. up next, more from harry smith . by a heart valve problem. today we have pradaxa to reduce the risk of a stroke caused by a clot. in a clinical trial, pradaxa 150 mg reduced stroke risk 35% more than warfarin. and with pradaxa, there's no need for those regular blood tests. pradaxa is progress. pradaxa can cause serious, sometimes fatal, bleeding. don't take pradaxa if you have abnormal bleeding, and seek immediate medical care for unexpected signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. pradaxa may increase your bleeding risk if you're 75 or older, have kidney problems or a bleeding condition, like stomach ulcers.
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but we don't live our lives like that. we search for permanence, meaning, connection. sometimes it comes from the things we own, collect. >> transportation. >> reporter: the stuff with which we surround ourselves. >> oh, god. >> reporter: chuck parker just retired as a science teacher at the local high school. facing what's lost is difficult. >> it's hard to imagine 45 years of stuff just gone. >> reporter: chuck had amassed a library of books, a lifetime's worth of curiosity and scholarship ruined. when confronted with all of this intellectually or emotionally is there a way to make sense of all this? >> no, it's just one of those things that happen. i mean bad things happen in life. it's called life. >> we have kind of a wall left, which is amazing. ( laughs ). >> reporter: his wife diane found a few things worth saving. not much in terms of possessions. the storm took care of that. so when you stand here and look at this neighborhood that you've
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lived in for a number of years, what does it look like? >> this is like "war of the worlds" or the blitz in london. that's exactly what i thought. i mean, that's what it must have looked like. i've never seen trees that look like matchsticks. >> smith: neither chuck nor diane was home when the storm hit. thankful to be alive, aware of their good fortune and stunned to be homeless. >> what you're looking at here is really a part of me. i don't care what anyone says. that's a part of me, and it's gone. >> smith: that's it for tonight from joplin, missouri. for russ mitchell in new york, i'm harry smith. we'll see you tomorrow night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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struggling to stay focused in the classroom? the simple schedule change - that could make a big difference. a new philosophy for raising a child. and if you don't like the "tiger mom" approach, you may find this one refreshing. and one of the hottest debates in america today - about to boil over in california. sacramento, san francisco, san jose - all taking on pension costs, and you may get to vote on it. good evening, i'm allen martin. i'm dana king it s been three months now since we watched those massive demonstrations in the state of wisconsin. public workers - revolting against a plan that raised state employee contributions to their pension funds, and virtually . >> revolting against a plan that raised as state employee contributions to their pension funds. and virtually eliminated their

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